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      Avocent/Cybex KVM SwitchView Review

     
     Date: June 18th, 2001
     Type: Review
     Supplier: Avocent
     Author: mayhem

    Testing
    In order to get this working we had to unfortunately get an Australian power pack as the one that came with it was for US power points, not to worry a trusty Dicksmith variable voltage 1500mA DC power adapter for $38 did the trick. As a note, if you want to buy this product we recommend getting it from a local Australian distributor so that you don't have to get a different power adapter. This adapter allows your to select 3/4.5/6/7.5/9/12 Volts and a max of 1.5 Amps, and comes with eight different plugs that you can swap and change for different devices, also it all takes a range of input voltages from 100 - 260 Volts which means with a plug adapter you can use it in a variety of countries.

    NOTE: After carefully reading the manual, I came across the text "Power Pack is OPTIONAL", so I removed it from the back and what do you know, it still works like a charm. Just goes to show that reading the manual first is always a good option and in my case would have saved me around about $40.

    Well testing proves to be just as easy as setting it up. Just power up your two machines and press the push buttons on the from of the SwitchView. Since you keyboard runs through the SwitchView they have implemented an alternative method for switch which computer is currently in use, this is done by hitting <CTRL><CTRL> X <ENTER> (where X is the letter of the computer you want to use, i.e. the letter of the port the computer plugs into), this along with many other features allows you to hide the unit away if you have a small desk and makes switching between the computers rather quick (rather good if your testing something and need to jump from PC to PC rapidly).

    The above are snapshots of the screens of Port A (Linux Machine) and Port B (Windows machine), nice and simple to switch between them easily, not to mention it will increase the life of the monitor.

    The SwitchView also has some other nice features, you can cycle through the screens on a timer, which is really good for those who have multiple servers and want to monitor them. To do this you must enter control mode (<CTRL><CTRL>) and then type Dxx (where xx is a seconds value from 2 to 60, if you leave it blank the default is 5 seconds) then press enter, this sets up the dwell time. To start the cycle enter control mode and type SG then ENTER, this will cycle every xx seconds from one screen to another, to stop it enter control mode again and type in SH then ENTER.

    A full listing of all the commands available to use and control the SwitchView are provided in the easy to read PDF documentation found on the CD-ROM that comes with the kit. The documentation comes in a wide range of languages and is designed so that it can be easily read, plus it has some nice colour pictures and examples helping you to setup the SwichView and how to use all of its features.

    One thing you should note, when you hit <CTRL><CTRL> you will notice the lights on your keyboard start flashing, this is to tell you that you are in the SwitchView control mode, once you hit enter they will stop flashing to tell you that you are now using the PC again, pretty nifty little feature.

    Conclusion
    This
    is by far one of the best products if you have a number of computers side by side, it saves time and not to mention space and even power of having multiple monitors, keyboards and mice. Some of you might think that this is only for work based applications, but if you run multiple computers at home then it is just as beneficial for your situation.

    The SwitchView makes life alot easier than swapping cables around and having the waste of space of multiple peripheral devices, if you run servers or just have a couple of computers lying around then this is the solution for you. With the added benefit of being very light (the power pack ways more than the SwitchView itself) and the fabricated mounting holes allowing you to screw it to a wall, make it a very handy little gadget.

    The only thing that annoys me is that the monitor seems to display a little bit different, its as if the colour settings are slightly out of whack (this is only in Windows, in Linux it seems to be fine), but I think this is more my eyes than anything else. Another reason could be the monitor is slowing dying, its about 3 years old and been carried around to LAN after LAN and has been swapped from computer to computer on a regular basis. This will just take a bit of getting used to, should only take a couple of days.

    It is simple to use, effective and fits into small spaces and saves me the hassle of unplugging my monitor from my client machine and then into my server whenever I need to use my Linux machine, not to mention that I now have more room on my desk as I can pack away my second keyboard and mouse.

    A special thanks goes out to the team at Avocent and Trisha from NetPR for supplying this kit for our review. If you would like to find out some more technical information or would like to place an order for a SwitchView then please visit the Avocent website.

    Score: 9 / 10

    FORUM: Talk about this and other products

     

      Supplier Information

     
    Avocent provide a large range of networking products, for the home user to enterprise solutions. If you would like to purchase a Cybex KVM or any other product then please drop by their website for more information on specifications of their product lines and to place an order. You can find all the details on products on their site http://www.avocent.com/.

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